The Obsessive Joy of Autism – Julia Bascom
A book about being autistic written by autistic adult Julia Bascom. I think this book is meant for everyone, autistic or not, of any age, and as far as I can tell is adapted from a post Bascom made at her blog Just Stimming (uncertain if she has moved to another blog as it appears this blog has not been updated since Jan 2015).
The first thing that struck me about this book is the really interesting illustrations and art styles – it is visually unique and I only read it in e-book format, so it probably looks even better in print.
The content of the book mostly focuses on the interests (sometimes called obsessions or special interests) of autistic people and how they can bring so much pleasure and joy to an autistic person. Bascom gives the reader an insight into how her own interests (Suduko and Glee) bring her so much happiness and how this experiencing of joy is one of the most valuable parts of being autistic.
Bascom also talks about accepting these interests and obsessions of autistic people, and about not forcing autistic people to give up on their interests just because others deem them to be inappropriate for their age or think that the way autistic people might express their joy such as hand-flapping is strange or socially inappropriate. I also appreciate the fact that Bascom doesn’t try and push aside the difficulties that are so often associated with being autistic – I often read autism acceptance things that feel like I’m being told that autism is wonderful and because I don’t think my own autism is wonderful I am a bad autistic person. So that is a pleasant change.
The only thing I didn’t particularly enjoy is the whole “I pity neurotypicals…” section because I am really fed up of reading things that lean towards, “We need to accept autism, let me show you why by showing how we are so much better than non-autistics in this way”. I don’t know if it was Bascom’s intention for it to be read like that, that is just how I read it.
Overall though it is a decent book, and it is one of the few accessible autism acceptance books that are available on the market (that I’ve come across, if you know of others please message me).
Is it worth reading?
Yes, it is a very asthetically pleasing book and it has an important message of acceptance. Would be especially well placed as another reading book in schools.
Is it value for money?
It depends – RRP is £10 which is a pretty reasonable price, but I personally, having read this book once would not return to it. It’s not really a re-read sort of book. If it’s going into a classroom or going to be read by multiple people, yes. If it’s just you, not so much.